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Are compact cities environmentally friendly?

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Author Info

  • Carl Gaigné

    (INRA, French National Institute for Agricultural Research, France)

  • Stéphane Riou

    (UMR CNRS 5824 GATE Lyon-Saint-Etienne, Université de Saint-Etienne, France)

  • Jacques-François Thisse

    (CORE, Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium), Université du Luxembourg (Luxembourg), CEPR (UK), and RIEB, Kobe University (Japan))

Abstract

There is a large consensus among international institutions and national governments to favor urban-containment policies - the compact city - as a way to improve the ecological performance of the urban system. This approach overlooks a fundamental fact: what matters for the ecological outcome of cities is the mix between the level of population density and the global pattern of activities. As expected, when both the intercity and intraurban distributions of activities are given, a higher population density makes cities more environmentally friendly. However, once we account for the fact that cities may be either monocentric or polycentric as well as for the possible relocation of activities between cities, the relationship between population density and the ecological performance of cities appears to be much more involved. Indeed, because changes in population density affect land rents and wages, firms and workers are incited to relocate, thus leading to new commuting and shipping patterns. We show that policies favoring the decentralization of jobs may be more environmentally desirable.

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File URL: http://www.rieb.kobe-u.ac.jp/academic/ra/dp/English/DP2011-15.pdf
File Function: First version, 2011
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University in its series Discussion Paper Series with number DP2011-15.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kob:dpaper:dp2011-15

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Keywords: Greenhouse gas; Commuting costs; Transport costs; Cities; urban-containment policy;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rémy Le Boennec, 2014. "Nouvelles centralités, choix modal et politiques de déplacements " 2.0 " : Le cas Nantais," Working Papers hal-00958700, HAL.
  2. Gaigné, Carl & Riou, Stéphane & Thisse, Jacques-François, 2011. "Are Compact Cities Environmentally Friendly?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8297, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Carl Gaigné & Jacques-François Thisse, 2013. "New economic geography and the city," Working Papers 188884, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  4. de Cara, Stephane & Fournier, Anne & Gaigne, Carl, 2011. "Feeding the Cities and Greenhouse Gas Emissions - Beyond the Food Miles Approach," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114350, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  5. Martin F. Quaas & Sjak Smulders, 2012. "Brown Growth, Green Growth, and the Efficiency of Urbanization," CESifo Working Paper Series 4044, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Dascher, Kristof, 2013. "City Silhouette, World Climate," MPRA Paper 48375, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. WUNSCH, Guillaume & MOUCHART, Michel & RUSSO, Federica, 2012. "Functions and mechanisms in structural-modelling explanations," CORE Discussion Papers 2012056, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Carl Gaigné & Stéphane Riou & Jacques-François Thisse, 2012. "Are Compact Cities Environmentally (and Socially) Desirable ?," Cahiers de recherche CREATE 2012-4, CREATE.
  9. Rainald Borck, 2014. "Will Skyscrapers Save the Planet? Building Height Limits and Urban Greenhouse Gas Emissions," CESifo Working Paper Series 4773, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Jaume Masip Tresserra, 2013. "Sub-centres and Urban Inequality: A study on Social Equity in the Barcelona Metropolitan Region," ERSA conference papers ersa13p64, European Regional Science Association.
  11. André De Palma & Alexandre Guimard, 2014. "Urbanism, an overview," Working Papers hal-00969574, HAL.

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